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Jimmy Butler, Heat complete second-half comeback against Cavs

Jimmy Butler gets buckets — haven’t you heard?

Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat Photo by Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat had another off putting first half on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jimmy Butler’s second-half surge fueled a second-half comeback, earning the 119-115 victory over the Cavs.

Miami trailed by 14 with 3:12 left in the third quarter, but it eventually hopped on the back of the player they rely on most when it’s in need of a bucket. It cut the deficit to seven before the third quarter concluded, but that late momentum kickstarted a 13-2 Heat run to begin the fourth quarter, putting Miami ahead by four with 8:27 left.

Butler scored 12 of his 33 points in the final period — including a string of eight straight that gave Miami the 107-101 lead with 3:24 to go. Cleveland made it close in the final minute, but Butler’s pull-up jumper with 18 seconds left was ultimately the dagger to thwart Cleveland’s last-ditch effort.

The Heat outscored the Cavs 37-26 in the final period, netting 70.6 percent (12-17) of its attempts and 5-of-8 from deep; Cleveland shot 9-of-23 from the floor and just 3-of-12 from beyond the arc across the final 12 minutes.

Butler was the biggest benefactor down the stretch, but Tyler Herro pitched in for 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting with five 3s. Bam Adebayo added 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, adding six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Donovan Mitchell was phenomenal, scoring 42 points on 15-of-30 shooting and 8-of-15 from 3-point range, but went 6-of-18 from the field in the second-half and 3-of-10 in the final quarter, running out of juice after his electric 25-point first-half.

Friday marked the first time the Heat have won three of four since mid-February. They now conclude their longest homestand of the season at 3-3, officially splitting their home-home series to the Cavs. At 36-32, they are still 2.5 games back of the Brooklyn Nets for the final non-play-in spot and 1.5 ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 7 spot.

Wins on Saturday evening against the Orlando Magic plus next week against the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies could go a long way into improving their spot in the standings, as they conclude the regular season by playing 11 of their final 12 against Eastern Conference foes.